duckduckgo: DuckDuckGo’s new feature will block third-party app trackers on Android

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo is introducing a new feature that will block third-party apps from tracking your data. In a no-holds-barred blog post, DuckDuckGo said that the tool is aimed at enhancing the privacy of users. “These hidden app trackers are super creepy because they can track everything you do in an app and also can continue to track you even when you’re not using the app,” noted the company in a blog post.
The feature is quite ‘inspired’ by Apple’s App Tracking Transparency on iPhone that gives users the choice to allow third-party app tracking or not. DuckDuckGo’s feature comes only for Android phones and the company reasoned that most smartphone users worldwide use Android, where no similar feature exists. “In fact, advertisers are now spending more money on Android apparently because it’s now easier to track you there,” says DuckDuckGo.
The anti-tracking feature is now in beta version for the Android app of the search engine.
How will the feature work on Android?
Once users enable App Tracking Protection, the DuckDuckGo app will detect when Android apps are about to send data to third-party tracking companies found in the app tracker dataset, and block those requests. “You can enjoy your apps as you normally would and App Tracking Protection will run in the background and continue to block the detected trackers throughout your apps, even while you sleep. We are continually working to identify and protect against new trackers, so you can rest easy knowing you’re getting the most up-to-date protection,” said DuckDuckGo in the blog.
DuckDuckGo has made it clear that App Tracking Protection is not a virtual private network (VPN), though your device will recognize it as one. App Tracking Protection is different from VPNs because it never routes app data through an external server, says DuckDuckGo.
Currently, the feature is in beta another’s a private waitlist. Here’s how you can get the feature

  • Download DuckDuckGo for Android (or update to the latest version).
  • Open Settings > App Tracking Protection (in the Privacy section).
  • Click “Join the Private Waitlist.”